Has anyone ever tired of arguing about pizza?
Pineapple is garbage, unless it’s not. Red sauce is lordt, unless it’s not. Deep dish is everything, unless it’s not...
Summer 2019 may well go down as the season in which pepperoni finally threw its hat into the quibble-ring. Once a topping of respite from inane arguments about shit that literally couldn’t matter less, everybody’s favorite little slices o’ spice have become grounds for division:
Are you a #RoniCup bro who’ll ride for tiny pepperoni that curl up into crispy cups, or more of a classic lay-flat slice boi who finds refuge in all that’s nostalgic from our childhoods? (If the latter, hold that thought, because our quest to settle the Great Pepperoni Debate led straight to terrain designed just for you.)
After working as a pizza cook, I have notoriously shitty taste in pizza… mostly in that I rarely want to eat it at all. When I do, I don't want it to taste like pizza. My partner and I can agree on pepperoni. The fact that, now, pepperoni is something we have to decide on struck fear into my heart. But for this publication, I courted pizza disaster in the pursuit of Pepperoni Truth.
Enter: Marco’s Pizza. The national pizza franchise has been around since 1978 and has locations in a few Twin Cities suburbs, but not in Minneapolis or St. Paul. Their Pepperoni Magnifico pizza may keep couples from arguing over pepperoni once and for all, as it has both pepperoni varieties on a single pie.
So we got in the car, drove to New Brighton, and prepared to hash it out. The youngster who took our order clearly wasn’t yet sick of it all, which was pleasantly refreshing, and the pizzas themselves were… good, especially for a strip mall, takeout-only joint. We ordered a 10” topped with each pepperoni variety: #ronicups (DBA Old World), traditional, and the elusive Pepperoni Magnifico (fancied up with Roma seasoning, because it was offered so politely), plus a cup of their Jalapeño Ranch sauce for good measure. The dough is made fresh in-store, and it tastes like it.
After housing four or five slices apiece, my partner and I spent half an episode of pretending to watch some random Netflix schlock waffling over our ’roni preferences. Our final answer? Pepperoni is good, man. And Pepperoni Magnifico has the most pepperoni. Four thumbs up for Marco’s.
The thing is, Marco’s pepperoni varieties, even after conducting a thorough taste test, were the least fascinating part of our Pepperoni Quest. Operating alongside Marco’s is Family Video -- a real, tangible video rental store. Our only proof we hadn’t actually teleported back to 1997 was that Family Video also sells CBD products. In addition to renting hard copies of DVDs and Blu-rays (new releases lining the perimeter, classic selections divvied up by genre in the center), they also sell "digital movies" right from the store.
Family Video also has a service window leading directly into Marco's, for most convenient simultaneous pizza acquisition and movie browsing. Moreover, if you don't feel like leaving your house at all, the businesses are in cahoots, offering a delivery package (provided you live in-zone) where they'll drop a movie rental along with your pizza right to your doorstep. That's not a thing that existed during the Clinton years, but definitely should have.
Meanwhile, the past few hours have anecdotally revealed that many remaining Family Videos (I see you, Eau Claire, Anoka, Fond du Lac, Rochester...) are conjoind with Marco’s Pizzas. Special as we felt discovering this "in a vacuum," New Brighton's pizza window inside a movie rental store in the Year of Our Lord 2019 isn’t unique, provided you know where to look.
Sure, we set out looking to settle a (dumb) internet-based pepperoni debate, but we've come away with something far more valuable: the knowledge that this gem of nostalgia -- letting a movie case speak to you rather than endlessly scrolling through Netflix -- was never lost, simply guarded like precious treasure by suburbanites who knew we'd lost our privileges.